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Thursday, January 24, 2008

not enough coffee..

Thursday; January 24, 2008 7:31 AM

It's still dark outside. I have brushed my teeth, drunk my coffee (espresso, two cups). I look back at waking up in the middle of the night choking, I thought I was going to die. Took a few seconds to clear my air passages and breath. It seems I was about to vomit in my sleep. I suppose I _could_ have died. It does look improbable but it is possible. The thin, thin ice of existence which we so carelessly career upon.

The news are full of reminders of just how thin that ice is. The presenters of the Today programme play at being cynical, at asking all the sharp questions. Politicians play at being important and dodging all the answers, while the presenters still acquiesce at playing that the politicians are important. News of a Hollywood actor dead at 28 and the ripples, the strange outpour of grief and its counterpart, the sick bad jokes on the forums, on livejournal; so many people die every day who should not, every single one of them the loss of the unique way in which the forces the Universe met in that way, that one time only and never again, to paraphrase Hesse. Maybe the Princess Diana syndrome is just a way for people to concentrate their grief at our own fragility and transience. Or maybe it is just a media manipulation. Who knows. Probably a bit of both.

Outside it is getting lighter, that grey-blue light of dawn. I must go out, do my lesson. While I'm in the world, there's plenty to do, plenty plenty to do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


A ghost was at the window. The contours of the face seemed to shimmer and fade as you tried to focus on them. I made myself very still in the bed, closed my eyes very tight and cautiously opened them again. I could still see the figure of my by then long dead grandmother at the window, looking in -but it was odd, she was.. diffused, had the sepia tone of an old photograph, seemed to be half-vanishing and looked at me with infinite sadness. She slowly started to fade. I closed my eyes tight once again.. when I opened them she wasn't there any longer. I tried to convince myself that I had been asleep and had dreamt the whole thing but I knew this wasn't so.

In the morning i had forgotten all about the nightly apparition. I had a hearty breakfast of three or four arepas with ham and cheese, milky coffee, a Dumbo Cola (I much preferred Grapette cola which was not as sweet and was .. less red.. but you couldn't find that there where we were in Duaca, Estado Lara, three hundred and fifty km from home...) I had of course no idea what the name of the soft drink meant and probably neither did the manufacturers of the beverage, the only connection being the name of the flying elephant in Disney films that I hadn't seen -but knew existed. After breakfast, I would head for the garden and lie on the hammock to read comic books, with the yellow sun rays breaking through the leaves of the two trees and making the perennial dust in the air dance and shimmer. I didn't seem much to care what the others did. Then I saw -or thought I saw- somebody briefly appear out of one of the rooms at the side of the house which we never went to.. in the broken sunlight under the trees in the garden, I thought I'd seen someone appear on the doorstep of the room and quickly disappear in again. Almost translucent, you could see the brown wall, its rough texture finish and the decrepit wooden door half open... there was no-one in there and yet. I would not have gone into the soft darkness of that room to check and find out for anything in the world...